Adele 25

January 30, 2016 11:00 AM

Here’s a prediction—Adele will suffer from overplay on airwaves and TV and still sell more albums than Taylor Swift has in the last five years. This album is like a quant trading algorithm, precise in its reason for being and executed exactly according to plan at every second; each song was written, recorded, engineered and mastered to command the greatest amount of purchased downloads. 

Hello was downloaded over 1.1 million times in its first week. To be fair, she’s got pipes. Mad pipes. And she is an industry unto herself. Who else sings a five-minute ballad on commercial radio? Hello! On “25” every song uses her voice as its centerpiece, yet there are few “moments of transcendence” as there were on “21” where folks from eight to 80 felt compelled to sing at the top of their lungs. Nothing breaks the mold or stands out except for some treacly lyrics. As opposed to “21,” nearly every point of my rating of this album goes to Adele’s voice. She could get 30 points singing a Polish instruction manual for rebuilding a lawn mower engine.  Songs are sourced from a who’s who of songwriters (Danger Mouse, Max Martin, Sia, Tobias Jesso Jr.) who have filled the airwaves for Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Weeknd and many more. While the songs are not “bad,” they just seem like what they are—a palette for selling records, not advancing her as an artist creatively. Her voice deserves more varied and innovative material.

2016 predictions

  • A middle-aged man from a Scandinavian country will win a Grammy for Song of the Year 
  • Wilco will release an album we pay for
  • The Shins release a new album with Danger Mouse’s fingerprints all over it
  • Grammy Predictions (note that these were made prior to nominations released on Dec. 5): 
  • Taylor Swift will win Album of the Year Grammy for 1989 and Record of the Year for Bad Blood. Uptown Funk takes home Grammy for Song of the Year. Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats take home Best New Artist Grammy.  Justin Bieber performs at the Grammys and we see his nipples with no “wardrobe malfunction.”  
  • Kanye drops a new album and details of his 2020 tax plan are conspicuously absent, but album cover also features his nipples
  • Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani move into Blake’s new Oklahoma mansion on Lake Tenkiller (where I learned how to water ski). Gwen moves out before she learns how to water ski.
  • Sam Smith takes home an Oscar for Writing on the Wall, from James Bond Spectre
  • Hamilton sweeps Tony nominations setting a record for number of Tony Awards in one year
  • Tidal will cease operations or be folded into Pandora or Spotify (whatever the case, Jay Z will make cash)
  • iTunes will completely overhaul their user interface (Are you listening, Apple?)
  • @jbvannatta and jbvannatta on Twitter & Spotify get a rush of followers for 2015 songs of the year playlist after Modern Trader’s December publication of Top 10 Albums of 2015.
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